News Blog

Forty years of the Merseyrail Underground

Posted by Robert Hampton on 2nd May 2017 at 8:52 pm

On 2nd May 1977 the Merseyrail underground opened to the public. The first departure was the 6.05am service from Liverpool Central to Southport. Passengers, including Ralph Jackson in this photo from the Science and Society Picture Library were presented with a commemorative certificate of their journey.

Merseyrail publicity showing the loop and link lines and the slogan Right to the Heart of the City

On that first day, only the Northern Line to Moorfields and Central was in service. The Wirral loop opened a week later, but initially only served James Street and Central in the city centre, as the Wirral Line platforms at Moorfields and Lime Street were not ready. They opened later in 1977.

Black and White photo of Moorfields railway station with a class 503 unit

Photo by Peter Whatley, licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 (Original)

The following years saw the network extended, starting with the reopening of the former CLC route to Garston and Hunts Cross. Then electrification was extended on the Wirral side, first to Hooton, then onwards to Chester and Ellesmere Port.

Sadly, some of the proposed schemes (such as the Gateacre line, the Wapping Tunnel and the Outer Loop) never came to fruition, but Merseyrail can nevertheless be considered a success story of which the city region can be proud.

(more…)

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502 Trails Tour update

Posted by Robert Hampton on 30th March 2017 at 8:25 pm

502 Trails Tour image showing various shots of the 502

There is still space available on the 502 Trails bus tour this Sunday, 2nd April. If you want to join us, please feel free to turn up on the day and pay your £10. We depart at 10am from London Street, near the side entrance of Southport railway station.

The 502 trail tour will take in various sites of railway interest in and around Merseyside, including a visit to the 502 base at Burscough. Further details are available on our original blog post.

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The 502 Trails History Tour

Posted by Robert Hampton on 21st February 2017 at 5:38 pm

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the closure of Liverpool Exchange and the opening of the Merseyrail Loop and Link underground lines. To commemorate this event we will be running a special bus tour on Sunday 2nd April.

502 Trails Tour image showing various shots of the 502

We will depart at 10am from London Street, Southport (near the side entrance of the railway station), and follow the routes towards Liverpool that the 502 units used, with diversions and pauses at other interesting historic infrastructure. We pause at Liverpool Exchange for a walk around the old station area, then continue to the Museum of Liverpool at Mann Island for a lunch break and a look at the restored Liverpool Overhead Railway coach.

On our return journey to Southport we will follow part of the Liverpool Overhead Railway route into Bootle, then follow the North Mersey route to Aintree. Finally, we will head off via Maghull and Ormskirk to our base at Burscough, where the preserved 502 will be open to inspect the latest work.

The fare payable on the day is £10. Please contact our treasurer, Tony Kuivala, to book your place. Email treasurer@class502.org.uk.

Happy New Year!

Posted by Robert Hampton on 1st January 2017 at 1:45 pm

Happy new year to all our friends and supporters.

2017 is a big year for us as it marks the 40th anniversary of the closure of Exchange station and the opening of the Merseyrail underground. We will be holding various events to mark this milestone throughout the year, and more details will be available soon.

In the meantime, we’d like to make you aware of an interesting event taking place in Liverpool on 16th January. John Ryan, a key member of the team who built the Merseyrail Loop and Link, will be speaking to the Tramway and Light Railway society and showing some unique pictures of the construction.

The event takes place at Greenbank Sports Academy at 7.30pm on 16th January, and admission is just £2. More details on the UK Model Shop website.

Map titled 'looking to the future with Merseyrail' showing new Loop and Link lines

(Scan from the collection of Luke O’Rourke)

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Seasons Greetings

Posted by Robert Hampton on 24th December 2016 at 2:18 pm

To all our members, supporters and followers, a very Merry Christmas!

Photo of Class 502 in the snow

Photo credit: the late Bernard Dixon.

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Work starts on the 502 cab

Posted by Robert Hampton on 17th August 2016 at 9:36 pm

Regular readers will know that the driving cabs of both 502 vehicles have been particularly badly affected by corrosion, and an almost total rebuild is needed. The good news is that we have reached the stage where work can begin.

A couple of pictures from the weekend can be seen below (click on them to enlarge). Many thanks to Steve Dawson who has given us the benefit of his welding skills.

A full exterior rebuild of the cab front may follow, however we need to obtain the steelwork and carry out preparatory work. Donations, however small, would be greatly appreciated.

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Bus links to MTT open day

Posted by Robert Hampton on 9th July 2016 at 3:30 pm

2016 open day poster

If you’re coming to see us at the Merseyside Transport Trust open day on Sunday 10th July by public transport, there are FREE shuttle bus services running from Ormskirk and Burscough.

ORMSKIRK LINK from Ormskirk bus station
First bus 1020, then every 30 minutes until 1620.

BURSCOUGH LINK from Burscough Bridge railway station
Buses at 1033, 1133, 1233, 1333, 1418, 1518, 1618.

The buses will be operated by vehicles from the MTT’s heritage fleet.

We look forward to welcoming you!

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Merseyside Transport Trust Open Day 2016

Posted by Robert Hampton on 7th May 2016 at 8:21 pm

2016 open day poster

We’re looking forward to welcoming you all at the MTT’s annual open day, which this year takes place on Sunday 10th July 2016 between 10.30 and 4.30. Admission, as always, is free, but donations are always welcome.

The MTT’s collection of historic buses will be on display, as well as visiting vehicles from other preservation groups and a variety of sales stands.

Of course, the Class 502 EMU will be on display and visitors will be able to inspect the work we have been doing. Friends of the 502 Group members will be on hand to answer any questions you may have.

The MTT base is located off Tollgate Road, Burscough, L40 8TG. If you’re coming by public transport, the Trust will be running regular shuttle buses from Ormskirk and Burscough Bridge stations to connect with trains.

For more info please see www.mttrust.co.uk.

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Season’s Greetings

Posted by Robert Hampton on 24th December 2015 at 3:54 pm

Thanks to all our supporters in 2015!

christmas-2015

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Friends of the 502 Group celebrate Grassroots Giving success

Posted by Robert Hampton on 5th November 2015 at 1:00 pm

The Friends of the 502 Group have been successful in the Skipton Building Society Grassroots giving awards.

Proud to be one of Skipton Building Society's Grassroots Giving Winners

The idea behind the Grassroots Giving campaign is to help community organisations, or groups, who only have access to limited funding from elsewhere. Having made it to the shortlist, members of the public were then asked to vote for the various shortlisted applicants.

Having gained sufficient votes we were awarded a £500 share of this year’s Grassroots funding. The award will go towards the flooring of the unit all of which is sourced locally.

“Everything we have achieved so far has been largely funded by the generosity of our team and supported by generous donations from local community through Open Days organised in conjunction with our colleagues in Merseyside Transport Trust (MTT). We purchase all our materials locally receiving discounts and practical (non financial) support from our suppliers. This is two way traffic as both sides benefit. The purpose of this application is for floor coverings as the walking surfaces over the new steel flooring we are installing. So far we have funded everything ourselves. Our unit has been around for 75 years. We are restoring with 30 to 40 year anticipated life expectancy. Your funding would be for what people see and use.

“As we are achieving greater progress our local presence and Membership are increasing. We are increasingly well known and respected within Carriage side of Heritage Railway Community for taking on what many considered to be impossible. These will be our legacies.”

Our thanks go to the Skipton Building Society and all who voted for us.

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